Friday, October 19, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 42



Depp, Graham help gore win in 'From Hell'

By Heather L. Nicholson
Daily Cougar Staff

From Hell opens today and provides plenty of gore in its twist on the classic Jack the Ripper tale.

If you can get past the hundreds of gallons of blood, piercing screams and opium smoke, you'll find a really good movie full of artistic horror and classic slasher style.

The movie is set in late 19th-century east London. The story is familiar to us all -- a man the papers call Jack the Ripper stalks London's streets at night, violently killing young women and leaving the police baffled as to whodunit.

Johnny Depp plays a Scotland Yard inspector named Frank Abberline.

His character is in charge of discovering the identity of the Ripper, but psychic visions, sympathy for a prostitute and an addiction to "chasing the dragon" complicate the inspector's quest for victory.

Johnny Depp stars as Scotland Yard Inspector Frank Abberline in the new film From Hell. Heather Graham and Robbie Coltrane co-star.

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Depp is excellent in mastering a British accent that not only mimics the 19th century but east London as well.

You might think you're watching Sleepy Hollow for a minute because Depp's character is quite similar in dress, style and speech.

However, Heather Graham is no Christina Ricci when busty corsets are involved.

Graham plays an innocent, unfortunate prostitute who never meant to sell her body for money and only does it because of the bitter circumstances that have plagued her life.

Her character comes off a bit cheesy at first, especially when you realize she's Abberline's love interest (duh, it's Heather Graham), but as the story's plot unfolds, her purpose becomes clearer.

There is one supporting actor worth mentioning. Robbie Coltrane (Message in a Bottle) plays Depp's sidekick and closest friend, Sergeant Peter Godley.

While Coltrane is usually recognized for his aggressive stature and thick Scottish accent, he plays the comic relief in this movie.

Jokes may seem inappropriate in a horror movie such as this, but they are delivered with a dry sense of humor and at the most opportune times (just when you're starting to feel queasy from the movie's interpretation of the human anatomy).

With all the myths surrounding England's most notorious unsolved mystery, the writers of From Hell made the right decision on selecting the one myth that is the most believable.

There are other influences that are obviously Hollywood hype, but they only slightly take away from the movie's credibility.

The costumes are good, especially the Ripper's. This year's Halloween demand for Jack the Ripper suits, top hats and black capes lined in red could be as big as that for the Scream mask of years past.

If you liked Gary Oldman and Winona Ryder in Dracula, or Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in Interview with the Vampire, you're sure to add Johnny Depp in From Hell to that morbidly entertaining collection.

For you movie guessers, good luck on predicting the identity of Jack the Ripper, because the movie leaves you with plenty of speculation.

The ending won't disappoint you either, unless you're the type of hopeless romantic who craves the happily-ever-after scenario.

Those with a weak stomach are strongly advised to bring enough barf bags to go around, because From Hell is a non-stop viewing of blood-gushing, gut-wrenching, knife-slashing horror.

From Hell

Starring: Johnny Depp, Heather Graham
Studio: 20th Century Fox
MPAA Rating: R

My Rating: 4 stars

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